Prudhoe Bay, Alaska

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Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Sagavanirktok
Caribou walk across a gravel pad at Kuparuk, 45 miles away from Prudhoe Bay, with oilfield facilities in the background.
Caribou walk across a gravel pad at Kuparuk, 45 miles away from Prudhoe Bay, with oilfield facilities in the background.
Location in North Slope Borough and the state of Alaska
Location in North Slope Borough and the state of Alaska
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska is located in Alaska
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Location in the United States of America
Coordinates: 70°19′32″N 148°42′41″W / 70.32556°N 148.71139°W / 70.32556; -148.71139Coordinates: 70°19′32″N 148°42′41″W / 70.32556°N 148.71139°W / 70.32556; -148.71139
CountryUnited States
StateAlaska
BoroughNorth Slope
Government
 • Borough mayorHarry K. Brower, Jr.
 • State senatorDonny Olson (D)
 • State rep.John Lincoln (D)
Area
 • Total569.89 sq mi (1,476.00 km2)
 • Land390.42 sq mi (1,011.17 km2)
 • Water179.47 sq mi (464.83 km2)
Elevation
30 ft (9 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total1,310
 • Density3.36/sq mi (1.30/km2)
Time zoneUTC-9 (Alaska (AKST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-8 (AKDT)
ZIP code
99734
Area code(s)907 (Local exchange prefix: 659)
FIPS code02-64380
GNIS feature ID1865563

Prudhoe Bay /ˈprd/ or Sagavanirktok is a census-designated place (CDP) located in North Slope Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, the population of the CDP was 2,174 people, up from just five residents in the 2000 census; however, at any given time, several thousand transient workers support the Prudhoe Bay oil field. The airport, lodging and general store are located in Deadhorse, and the rigs and processing facilities are located on scattered gravel pads laid atop the tundra. It is only during winter that the surface is hard enough to support heavy equipment, and new construction happens at that time.

Prudhoe Bay is the unofficial northern terminus of the Pan-American Highway. As the bay itself is still 10 miles further north through a security checkpoint, open water is not visible from the highway. A few tourists, arriving by bus after a two-day ride up the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, come to see the tundra, the Arctic Ocean and the midnight sun, staying in lodgings assembled from modular buildings. Tours must be arranged in advance to see the Arctic Ocean and the bay itself.

Prudhoe Bay was named in 1826 by British explorer Sir John Franklin after his classmate Captain Algernon Percy, Baron Prudhoe. Franklin traveled westerly along the coast from the mouth of the Mackenzie River in Canada almost to Point Barrow.[2]

Geography[edit]

Prudhoe Bay is located at 70°19′32″N 148°42′41″W / 70.325490°N 148.711387°W / 70.325490; -148.711387.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 558.0 sq mi (1,445 km2) of which, 416.3 sq mi (1,078 km2) is land and 141.8 sq mi (367 km2) is water. The total area is 25.40% water.

Climate[edit]

Prudhoe Bay, along with similar communities on the North Slope of Alaska, features a tundra climate (Köppen ET). Winters are long and frigid, and because the area is above the Arctic Circle, the sun does not rise during several weeks of each winter. Summers bring long daylight hours, with 24 hours of daylight during some summer weeks, but are still cool, being mostly between 45 and 55 °F (7 and 13 °C) and sometimes dropping to the freezing point.

Climate data for Prudhoe Bay, Alaska
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 36
(2)
39
(4)
34
(1)
43
(6)
55
(13)
83
(28)
82
(28)
80
(27)
67
(19)
45
(7)
39
(4)
34
(1)
83
(28)
Average high °F (°C) −11.9
(−24.4)
−10.1
(−23.4)
−5.2
(−20.7)
10.1
(−12.2)
28.8
(−1.8)
45.2
(7.3)
55.4
(13.0)
51.0
(10.6)
38.3
(3.5)
21.0
(−6.1)
0.9
(−17.3)
−6.6
(−21.4)
18.1
(−7.7)
Average low °F (°C) −24.0
(−31.1)
−24.3
(−31.3)
−20.3
(−29.1)
−4.8
(−20.4)
19.0
(−7.2)
32.7
(0.4)
39.7
(4.3)
37.5
(3.1)
28.9
(−1.7)
9.7
(−12.4)
−11.0
(−23.9)
−19.2
(−28.4)
5.3
(−14.8)
Record low °F (°C) −62
(−52)
−57
(−49)
−54
(−48)
−47
(−44)
−19
(−28)
18
(−8)
28
(−2)
23
(−5)
1
(−17)
−30
(−34)
−45
(−43)
−47
(−44)
−62
(−52)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.20
(5.1)
0.17
(4.3)
0.14
(3.6)
0.08
(2.0)
0.09
(2.3)
0.39
(9.9)
0.68
(17)
1.14
(29)
0.61
(15)
0.38
(9.7)
0.18
(4.6)
0.20
(5.1)
4.26
(107.6)
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.8
(7.1)
2.4
(6.1)
2.7
(6.9)
1.7
(4.3)
1.4
(3.6)
1.0
(2.5)
0.0
(0.0)
0.5
(1.3)
3.5
(8.9)
9.3
(24)
4.3
(11)
3.5
(8.9)
33.1
(84)
Source: Desert Research Institute

Demographics[edit]

Aerial View of Prudhoe Bay
Historical population
Census Pop.
197049
1980502.0%
199047−6.0%
20005−89.4%
20102,17443,380.0%
20201,310−39.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]

Prudhoe Bay first appeared on the 1970 U.S. Census as an unincorporated village. It was made a census-designated place (CDP) in 1980.

Map of Alaska, showing place names and the Trans-Alaska pipeline route in red
HMS Tireless on Prudhoe Bay

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,174 people living in the CDP. The racial makeup of the CDP was 83.0% White, 1.9% Black, 7.5% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from some other race and 1.6% from two or more races. 4.0% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Prudhoe Bay oil field[edit]

Prudhoe Bay is adjacent to the largest oil field in the United States.

Health care[edit]

Prudhoe Bay is classified as an isolated town/sub-regional center. It is found in EMS Region 6A in the North Slope Region. Emergency services have limited highway, coastal and airport access. Emergency service is provided by a paid emergency medical services unit and Fairweather Deadhorse Medical Clinic. Auxiliary health care is provided by oil company medical staff and the Greater Prudhoe Bay Fire Dept. Individuals requiring hospital care are usually transported to the nearest hospital/medical center, Sammuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital, in Utqiaġvik. Because no roads connect Prudhoe Bay to Utqiaġvik, patients are transported by helicopter or air ambulance (a flight of approximately 45 minutes).[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 29, 2021.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Walter. "Our Last Great Wilderness". American Heritage. American Heritage. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-30. Retrieved 2014-10-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Far North - Prudhoe Bay Information

External links[edit]

Media related to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska at Wikimedia Commons